Health Topics

Healthy Living

May 2011
Bye Bye, Thunderthighs
Dr Kuldeep Singh
You are planning on a vacation in Goa; the thought of enjoying on the beach is a real one in your mind. But, you have serious reservations about wearing a bikini, and showing off the saddlebags, the thunder thighs. You like the thought not even one bit.

What can you do? And do you have enough time to take care of the situation?
If you are overweight, then having a proper diet and cardio/exercise /fitness regime, will help bring down fat deposits in general, and maybe in the thighs too.
  • Let's first talk about the diet. You need to take a look at the carbohydrates you eat every day. Carbs in your body do the following: 1) increase blood sugar, 2) increase insulin, 3) insulin increase tells your body to store FAT. Those unused carbs are going to be stored as fat. Reducing carb intake while increasing your protein intake works wonders. Eating soy, whey, eggs, tuna, chicken breasts, fish, etc, is basically a healthy diet along with onions, peppers, broccoli, and cauliflower. Try to steer clear of breads, pasta, rice, potatoes, etc. Might sound impossible, but it’s the only way – you tell yourself that.
  • Now for the cardio. The best time to do cardio is in the morning AFTER you wake up, BEFORE you eat breakfast. I say this because your glycogen levels have been depleted during sleep so when you go running in the morning before you eat, your body is going to use your body fat for fuel. Doing your cardio this way increases the burning of body fat by up to 300% than if you did it during the day (after you've been eating and storing glycogen).
  • Exercises (including weight training) performed under the supervision of a qualified trainer can help you tone up your thigh and hip muscles. Also, weight training in the long run helps burn more calories by increasing your metabolic rate.
However, if you are near target weight, already eating healthy and working out well, your stubborn thigh fat may still not budge!

Then you might need to consider medical (non invasive) options, injection lipolysis or surgical options to target fat around the thighs.
  • Non invasive medical devices - include ultrasound based (which break fat cells) or laser/radiofrequency based (which shrink fat cells) devices. You need to have about 8 - 10 sessions to lose about 2-3 inches.
    But you still need to be on a diet/fitness regime post treatment to lose weight and clear free fat from the body. Otherwise, it may not be lost, or worse, redistributed elsewhere in the body.
  • Injection lipolysis - involves injection of fat dissolving drugs into the area, which will do the same work as the ultrasound in breaking fat cells, and still requires one to lose some weight to reduce fat. It is only effective on soft fat, and is used to remove smaller fat deposits.
  • Surgical options - include liposuction, which could be conventional, or VASER (ultrasound assisted), which remove larger amounts safely, with smoother contours and significant skin tightening, particularly if there are only a few stretch marks.
These processes involve hospitalisation with a safe limit of fat sucked out (being about 4- 6 litres). It is not a weight loss surgery, only a contouring surgery. The recovery time in surgical options is about 4-6 weeks.
Like any surgical procedure, liposuction has its risks. You will need to decide if the benefits of a sculpted, leaner look are worth it. Typically there is some bruising and swelling and the area treated will be sore. Some results can be seen right after the surgery, but maximum results are seen in about 4-6 weeks. You also need to be healthy to undergo the surgery, and remember it will cost you quite a bit and it is not covered by insurance.

Liposuction has more benefits than you might think. When you emerge from the recovery period, you will look terrific. Your once flabby areas will be smoother and more contoured. You will be able to wear different clothes that your problem areas prohibited. You can look as great as you feel!

Dr Kuldeep Singh is Senior Consultant PlasticSurgeon Apollo IndraPrasta Hospitals,New Delhi
  • The information on this site does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for medical care provided by a physician.
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